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Keywords:

  • regulatory focus;
  • goal orientation;
  • multiple mediation

Abstract

Chosen goals influence the outcomes a person achieves as well as the behaviors performed to achieve those outcomes. In this study, we propose that three forms of goal orientation: learning, performance-prove, and performance-avoid, (VandeWalle, 1997) relate to performance, with learning and performance-prove relating to performance through regulatory foci of prevention and promotion, respectively. Regulatory focus, a type of self-regulation, entails the implementation of specific strategies in pursuit of goals and thus gives us insight to how a person pursues a chosen goal. In a combination of laboratory and field studies, we examine the role of regulatory focus as a mediator between goal orientation and task performance. We find evidence that regulatory focus strategies differentially mediate the goal orientation/task performance relationship. Theoretical ramifications for these relationships, as well as practical implications, are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.